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Web Designer Excuses

Posted by Rebecca Blake on September 13, 2013

DesignTAXI recently reported on a website every web designer will want to bookmark. “Excuses for Lazy Designers” projects fresh excuses for why a web design project is off track. The excuses range from the obvious (“No-one uses IE anyway”) to the insider (Josef Müller-Brockman”). The site was created by Cole Peters, digital designer for Future Workshops, an app development firm in the UK. Peters was inspired by the equivalent website for developers, “Excuses for Lazy Coders.” The DesignTaxi article is especially amusing for the typographic smackdown of Cole’s designs in the reader’s comments (“It’s a typographic thing.”). Designers are a tough crowd all around.


Brought to our attention by @designTAXI

The excuses provided range from the obvious (top), to the trendy (middle), to the insider (bottom).

Carrier Pigeon:  Giving Wings to Creativity

Posted by Rebecca Blake on August 29, 2013

Carrier Pigeon, CP9 art © Richard Kegler In 2009, a group of New York City-based artists, illustrators, writers and designers collaborated on an ambitious project: a commercially distributed magazine in which the artists would have complete creative control. A Kickstarter campaign the following year successfully raised printing costs to cover the first issue. The result is Carrier Pigeon, an approximately 100-page quarterly magazine featuring original artwork and text by both up-and-coming and well-known contributors such as Marshall Arisman. Each issue functions as a work of art, with the layout uniquely designed by that issue’s art director.

The perusing – or interacting with Carrie Pigeon goes far beyond the reading experience. Each issue incorporates tactile or dimensional features. For example, Volume 2, Issue 3, includes a magnetic pop-up paper sculpture by cover artist and painter Adam Lister; the issue covers images of sculptures which combine magnets with abstract paintings. The stories (fantasy, dark comedies, scifi, and other genres of fiction) are beautifully designed and illustrated with work in a variety of media, such graphite drawings, etchings, photographs, woodcuts, and paintings. Each issue also features six portfolios of international artists.

Now into its third year of production, Carrier Pigeon recently published their 10th edition, (the first issue of volume 3, CPX) and will be releasing it at the Governors Island Art Fair September 1st. The publication is a labor of love; the limited run of 1,000 copies is put together by volunteers and contributors, often in the workshop of printmaker and frequent contributor Justin Santz. The publishers hope to eventually have the magazine completely funded by subscribers, sales, and carefully selected advertising. Their vision is to keep the magazine as a creator-controlled, collaborative publication, one which “provides artists with a venue for telling stories in an undisturbed environment by fostering… unconditional artistic freedom in both direct subject matter and the interpretation of text.”

Above right: The front cover of the 9th issue, featuring three-color letterpress artwork by Richard Kegler. Below: The portfolio feature for artist Jennifer Ale from the 9th issue. All artwork © the artists.

Spread from Carrier Pigeon, CP9, artwork © Jennifer Ale

Career Listings — Guild Joins Coroflot’s Design Employment Network

Posted by Rebecca Blake on August 28, 2013

The Guild has joined Coroflot's Design Employment Network, bringing hundreds of career listings targeted to design and creative professionals to our website. The arrangement enables us to present an online job board, with postings that can be sorted by location, experience level, and/or keywords. The job board also provides an interface for employers to post jobs. Since career listings are part of  a global network of organizations and institutions, the scope of job postings and the audience for job listings is extensive. Partners participating in the network include The Design Observer Group, adforum, CreativePro, Bloomberg Businessweek, and How+Print.

Created and run by designers, Coroflot is an online portfolio and job board site which seeks to connect design talent with employers and clients, and promote good design across several disciplines, including illustration, graphic, industrial, fashion, and UX. Core77 is the industrial design arm of Coroflot, and serves that community with articles, forums, events, as well as job listings and a database of design resources.

Comic Art, Clandestine Operations, and the High Cost of College Tuition

Posted by Rebecca Blake on August 27, 2013

Still from An auction of comic book art held in early August featured two works which played a role in the event which inspired the movie, Argo. The artwork was created by iconic comic book artist, Jack Kirby, the co-creator of Captain America, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Hulk.  After a long and prolific career at DC and Marvel Comics, Kirby left publishing to work in animation, creating storyboards and animation art. In 1979, he was hired by producer and visionary, Barry Ira Geller, to create storyboards for the film adaptation of Roger Zelazny’s scifi-fantasy book, The Lord of Light. Geller’s vision included a theme park, Science Fiction Land, for which Kirby created architectural renderings.


The movie and them park were never produced; under allegations of embezzlement on the part of Geller’s assistant producer, the entire operation was shut down. The project materials, however, were resurrected when CIA operative Tony Mendez contacted Geller’s make-up artist with a request for a suitable film project which would provide a cover story for a clandestine operation in Iran. The agency needed a film project to provide a cover story for a rescue operation of six Americans hiding in the Canadian embassy during the Iran hostage crisis. The script and Kirby’s illustrations for the Lord of Light – renamed “Argo” for the operation – were used as props. Iraninan authorities bought the ruse, and the Americans were successfully smuggled out.

Geller was kept in the dark about the operation and the role Kirby’s artwork played. In 1993, with Kirby’s permission, he sold the drawings at a Sotheby’s auction (ostensibly to pay for his son’s college education). Two of the drawings were snapped up by a young comic book artist and publisher, Jim Lee.  A fan of Kirby’s work — Jim Lee had started his career at Marvel Comics, where he worked on the revamp of X-Men — Lee snapped up the works without knowing the back story. When the tale behind the operation became public knowledge, Lee (now a co-publisher at DC Comics) realized the value of the work and put it up for auction — also to meet his children’s college costs. The artwork was auctioned off August 2 for purported total of $41,000.

While Geller wishes he had known the role Kirby’s artwork played in the rescue operation (and its true value) at the time he sold it, he remains upbeat about the publicity. As he reported to Wired Magazine, “I’m very, very happy, in fact, to see it in auction because anything that further brings notice and credit to Jack Kirby and his life is important to have.” The full story of the operation was covered in an extensive Wired article in 2007. In November of 2012, a documentary on the Argo backstory, “Science Fiction Land”, received full backing as a Kickstarter project and is now in post-production.

Above right and below: Two stills from the documentary, "Science Fiction Land", showing Jack Kirby's renderings for the theme park. Copyright © 2012 Flatbush Pictures | Brooklyn Film Networks, Inc.

Still from Science Fiction Land Copyright © 2012 Flatbush Pictures | Brooklyn Film Networks, Inc.

The Guild joins ASMP in Protesting Instagram’s Terms of Use

Posted by Rebecca Blake on August 26, 2013

The Graphic Artists Guild has joined The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), and other photography organizations in protesting Instagram's Terms of Use for image sharing. The organizations believe that few Instagram users understand the rights they are giving away when agreeing to Instagram's terms, specifically Instagram's right to perpetual use of photos and videos, and nearly unlimited right to license images to any and all third parties. Additionally, the terms assert Instagram's right to make users' photos and identity part of their service forever. ASMP has issued "The Instagram Papers," which analyze the Terms of Use and call for the inclusion of a simple right to terminate.


The full text of ASMP's news release on Instagram's terms is below:

PHOTOGRAPHIC COMMUNITY DEEMS INSTAGRAM TERMS TOO FAR-REACHING

Philadelphia, PA…The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), joined by National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), The Digital Media Licensing Association (PACA), American Photographic Artists (APA), This Week in Photography (TWiP), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), Coordination of European Picture Agencies Stock, Press and Heritage (CEPIC), Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) and American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP), has mounted a campaign to address the far-reaching Terms of Use of the image sharing service Instagram. Since 2010, more than 16 billion images and movies have been uploaded to Instagram. The organizations believe that few of the users who share images on the site understand the rights they are giving away. ASMP has issued "The Instagram Papers," information in the form of essays and analysis about the Terms of Use in which the key issue is that users should have the 'right to terminate' their agreement with Instagram, allowing them to remove permissions for the use of their identities and content at any time. 

Specifically, the Terms of Use give Instagram perpetual use of photos and video as well as the nearly unlimited right to license the images to any and all third parties. And, after granting this broad license to Instagram, users also relinquish the right to terminate the agreement. Once uploaded, they cannot remove their work and their identity from Instagram. Additionally, in the event of litigation regarding a photo or video, it is the account holder who is responsible for attorney and other fees, not Instagram.

Moreover, while Instagram's agreement includes  the right to sublicense images, it specifically excludes the need to ever pay creators, regardless of the way the company may use or sell their work. The photographic community believes strongly that fair compensation for the creators of work is a vital component of a fair agreement. 

According to ASMP Executive Director Eugene Mopsik, “While clearly benefiting Instagram, the rights of imaging professionals and general users stand to be infringed upon in an unprecedented way. We are concerned that not only have Instagram's Terms of Use gone beyond acceptable standards, but also that other social media providers may use these onerous terms as a template for their own agreements." 

Peter Krogh, ASMP's Digital Standards & Practices Chair, said, " As online services become larger repositories of intellectual property, power has shifted away from the user and toward the company provider. Unless changes are made by Instagram, we believe the terms will have a profound and negative impact on imaging professionals, publishers and general users."

In the coming weeks and months ASMP, along with the other listed organizations, will continue to reach out to gain support in addressing these egregious terms before they become the industry standard. 

Contact:
Eugene Mopsik, Executive Director
American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP)
Phone: 215 451 2767
Email: mopsik@asmp.org
www.asmp.org

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